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Metro Tunnel

North Melbourne Electrical Substation Development Plan

The North Melbourne electrical substation is an essential piece of infrastructure that will power the Metro Tunnel’s twin nine-kilometre rail tunnels and the new Arden Station.

Development plan

The Development Plan includes site layout plans, and architectural, landscape and public realm plans for the built form of the North Melbourne electrical substation.

This plan demonstrates how the works will be delivered in accordance with the approved Environmental Performance Requirements as defined in the Metro Tunnel Environmental Management Framework and the approved Urban Design Strategy for the project.

Feedback on the Draft Intake Substation Development Plan

A draft Development Plan for the North Melbourne electrical substation was made available for public display and comment from 18 November 2019 to Friday 6 December 2019.

As part of the updated Development Plan submission to the Minister for Planning, Cross Yarra Partnership (CYP) has provided all written comments received during the stakeholder and community consultation undertaken in November / December 2019.
In total, five public submissions were received.

The key issues raised in feedback on the North Melbourne electrical substation included:

  • Environmental Management Framework
  • Architectural response
  • Tree removal and reinstatement
  • Materials and finishes
  • Cable route alignment.

The document above outlines how feedback on these key issues has been addressed in the updated Development Plan submitted to the Minister for Planning for approval.

Detailed design will continue during project delivery, with CYP to prepare approximately 450 Design Packages that relate to specific technical disciplines and geographic areas. In accordance with the project contract, Design Packages are reviewed by Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) and the Independent Reviewer, and subject to additional consultation with relevant stakeholders such as relevant council/s, the Office of Victorian Government Architect (OVGA), VicRoads, Metro Trains Melbourne and Yarra Trams.

In the event that the scope and extent of the built form of CYP’s works change during detailed design, an amendment to the Development Plan would be prepared and approval sought from the Minister for Planning.

Environmental Management Framework

In response to the Environmental Management Framework, submissions provided comment around the environmental amenity of the Moonee Ponds Creek, including potential habitat loss.

CYP manages all works, including those covered by the North Melbourne Electrical Substation Development Plan, in accordance with the Environmental Management Framework. CYP will continue to consult with key stakeholders throughout the Development Plan process to provide acceptable environmental outcomes and maintain the amenity of Moonee Ponds Creek corridor.

CYP is currently working to minimise its footprint on the western side of Moonee Ponds Creek and will be utilising areas of cleared vegetation and the existing access track wherever possible. Every effort will be made to avoid impacts to vegetation and potential habitat.

Architectural response

In response to the architecture of the North Melbourne electrical substation, submissions queried viewlines and possible impacts on implementation of the Moonee Ponds Creek Strategic Opportunities Plan (2019) developed by City of Melbourne.
CYP note that tree planting and recreational opportunities proposed by the draft Moonee Ponds Creek Strategic Opportunities Plan (2019) are not possible due to the existing railway utility infrastructure in the area, hence why CYP propose that this location is suitable for the North Melbourne electrical substation.

Viewlines will be established as detailed design of the North Melbourne electrical substation building progresses, noting viewlines in this area are already impacted by the existing railway infrastructure, substation and CityLink toll road bridge in the surrounding area.

Tree removal and reinstatement

In response to tree removal and reinstatement submissions requested more trees to be retained and reinstated.

The tree removals outlined in the North Melbourne Electrical Substation Development Plan are a worst-case scenario. As detailed design progresses, CYP will seek to reduce the number of trees requiring removal and replant the maximum number of trees possible. This will be further refined during detailed design and in consultation with key stakeholders.

CYP will also seek to minimise removal of vegetation and potential habitat loss along the Moonee Ponds Creek. As part of CYP’s landscape and public realm response, trees will be reinstated where impacted by construction along Moonee Ponds Creek and Trail to contribute to providing landscaped areas within the public realm in accordance with the draft Moonee Ponds Creek Strategic Opportunities Plan (2019). In addition to the reinstatement of 32 trees, CYP propose to reinstate low level growth and Water Sensitive Urban Design plantings to deliver positive visual and ecological benefits to the area.

Materials and finishes

In response to materials and finishes, submissions included suggestions for brick, paintwork and art for the North Melbourne electrical substation building.

The external materials and finishes presented in the North Melbourne electrical substation Development Plan are indicative, noting materiality will be dictated by security and technical constraints. CYP will consider suggested options and seek to further develop the architectural design of the North Melbourne electrical substation building during the detailed design phase of the Project.

Cable route alignment

In response to the cable route, submissions provided comment on the cable route alignment, covered by the amended Early Works Plan.

The cable route is covered by the amended Early Works Plan and has been aligned to be located under the future Queensberry Street extension to avoid impacts to future development.

CYP has selected a route which minimises impacts to the tidal area of Moonee Ponds Creek, locating the cable route as close as possible to the existing AusNet site and the existing access track. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions outlined above, avoidance of the creek corridor is not entirely possible. CYP will continue to engage with key stakeholders, including Melbourne Water, City of Melbourne and the Victorian Planning Authority, on the alignment and construction methodology for the cable route during the detailed design process.